Spice (K2) Addiction

Commonly referred to by their brand names of “Spice” or “K2,” these drugs are made up of man-made chemicals designed to mimic the intoxicating qualities of cannabis. Unlike cannabis, which is derived from a plant, these drugs are made up of manufactured chemicals that can pose serious health risks when used recreationally. Though some retailers will attempt to pass off these drugs as less potent or safer versions of cannabis, their combination of untested ingredients, uncertain manufacturing processes, and strong potency can be harmful and addictive.

What is Spice / K2?

Spice and K2 are just two of the most popular brands associated with a class of drugs known as synthetic or man-made cannabinoids. Originally marketed as an alternative to cannabis, these drugs were widely sold in easily accessible locations like convenience stores and gas stations. Often using legal loopholes by including warning labels and other details on their packaging, these products nonetheless became popular with users who were seeking drugs that could be easily bought over the counter.

As more details became available about the mixture of chemicals found within these drugs, as well as their potential health risks, governments began to crack down on their sale. Currently, the majority of the chemicals found within synthetic cannabinoids are banned, although synthetic drug manufacturers frequently find legal but unregulated alternatives in order to continue production.

Dangers of Synthetic Cannabinoids

Among the chemicals that may be found within these drugs include nicotine, opioids, and other pain-killing medications. Depending on the combination of the chemicals found within these drugs, users may experience a range of adverse health effects, including:

  • Overdose
  • Intestinal challenges (vomiting and nausea)
  • Inability to think clearly or process information
  • Difficulty walking or moving
  • Strong feelings of stress and anxiety
  • Increased risk of seizure
  • Coma
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Damage to organs (heart, lungs, kidneys)
  • Increased risk of psychosis

Though they may be marketed as such, synthetic cannabinoids are not a safe alternative to cannabis. Because they are made up of unregulated chemicals that are often stronger than traditional cannabis, these manufactured drugs can result in serious health complications including damage to vital organs such as the heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys.

If you or a loved one are frequent users of synthetic cannabinoids and have experienced any of the following health-related symptoms, please consult a medical or addiction treatment professional as soon as possible.

Effects of Spice & K2 On the Brain

As the name suggests, synthetic cannabinoids mimic the effects of cannabis on the human brain, particularly the chemical THC which is responsible for much of cannabis’ effect on the brain and body. This has made synthetic cannabinoids popular among users who are seeking a similar “high” as cannabis but cannot access the organic drug itself.

Just as marijuana causes users to feel a sense of drowsiness, relaxation, and sometimes enhanced sensations, synthetic cannabinoids can have a similar effect. Because the chemicals within these drugs are often stronger than regular cannabis, the side effects of the drugs can be more potent, as well. These can include emotional instability, including increased feelings of anxiety and stress, as well as a sense of fear, paranoia, or even hallucinations.

Common Symptoms of Spice & K2 Addiction

As with most addictive drugs, the signs and symptoms of synthetic cannabinoid addiction are often both physical and behavioral. We’ve broken down both categories of signs and symptoms below. If you or a loved one are experiencing any of these symptoms while using synthetic cannabinoids, please seek out support from a medical or addiction treatment professional.

Physical warning signs of synthetic cannabinoid addiction include:

  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Slurred speech
  • Difficulty concentrating or communicating clearly
  • Lack of personal hygiene
  • Chronic nausea
  • Associated health complications with breathing or heart rate

Behavioral warning signs of synthetic cannabinoid addiction include:

  • Disinterest in personal or professional relationships
  • Showing up late or skipping work or school
  • New group of friends associated with drug use
  • Theft of money or valuables to purchase drugs
  • Irritability or emotional instability
  • Extreme denial over drug use
  • Borrowing or exchanging drugs

It’s important to keep a watchful eye on any loved one who is using synthetic cannabinoids on a regular basis, as chronic usage of these drugs can lead to severe physical and psychological risks.

Spice / K2 Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal occurs when an individual stops taking a drug, either because they have run out of the drug itself or they are trying to stop using altogether. If an individual has developed a physical dependence on the drug, they will experience withdrawal symptoms which can range from uncomfortable to potentially life-threatening.

Common withdrawal symptoms associated with Spice/K2 can include:

  • Flu-like symptoms (headache, runny nose)
  • Emotional volatility
  • Increased risk for depression
  • Muscle aches
  • Sleeplessness
  • Lack of energy and motivation

It’s particularly important that anyone seeking to quit using synthetic cannabinoids do so only under the supervision of a medical or addiction treatment professional. Medically-supervised detoxification allows the individual to safely “reset” their brain and body under the care of medical professionals. During this process, medical and addiction care experts will monitor vital signs and help manage pain, discomfort, and stress appropriately.

Treatment for Spice / K2 Addiction

Because synthetic cannabinoids are often made up of a variety of different dangerous and addictive chemicals, it’s critical that anyone struggling with these substances seek professional addiction treatment and recovery. When seeking a treatment program, individuals should consider the following key questions:

  • Does the treatment program have experience helping individuals with a similar addiction?
  • Does the treatment program incorporate treatments based on evidence from independent research?
  • Does the treatment program provide both individual and group therapy and support?
  • Does the treatment program offer case management services, including referrals to additional programs as needed?
  • Does the treatment program provide ongoing support to clients even after they graduate from the program?
  • Is the treatment program accredited by local and national regulatory organizations?

Asking these questions will help you get a more accurate picture of whether or not a given treatment program will fit your recovery needs. Choosing the appropriate treatment program is a major decision and you shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions to ensure you’re making the right choice.

If you’d like to find out more about the Solution Based Treatment & Detox difference, we invite you to call us directly today for a free, confidential conversation.

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